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Ski Patrol CourseFernie, Canada - 9 Weeks

A Challenging Big Mountain Resort

Train to become a ski patroller in Fernie, a resort with challenging terrain and complex avalanche operations. Learn the heroic skills needed to work in one of the most exciting and interesting jobs on the mountain.

Who's it for?
Age ranges
Skill level Ability guide >>

Fernie has a significant amount of advanced & expert terrain. This means that the ski patrol need the highest levels of skill in first aid, toboggan, rope, lift and avalanche rescue - all of which they will teach you. However, it is essential that you already consider yourself an advanced skier when you arrive, as there is minimal ski coaching.


The complex nature of the avalanche challenges in Fernie means that their control techniques are world-leading. With an average snowfall of 11m per winter, the patrollers have got their work cut out to ensure they can safely open the resort each day. There really is no better resort to gain your ski patrol professional level qualifications.


Our hands-on patrol training will teach you a huge range of skills, such as avalanche control, lift evacuation, advanced first aid, terrain management, rope rescue, ski touring, snowobiling and much more. These are essential skills for any budding Ski Patroller that will set you up for success in the high pressured work enviroment you're training for.


You will need to be a strong skier to take this course (you'll be able to link controlled parallel turns in challenging off piste terrain). It's important that you're confident enough to tackle any terrain on the mountain before you learn to help others who need patrol assistance. If you have any doubts about your ability then get in touch so we can assess your suitability for the course.


During the course you will work towards official certifications with world-recognised bodies. You will be trained and assessed in the Non Urban Emergency Care program, one of the most patrol-specific first-aid courses available.


You'll gain essential avalanche safety skills on the AST level 1 & will also partake in training that will prepare you for the optional CAA Operations Level 1 certification. This highly challenging and demanding course is a must for anyone hoping to apply to a big mountain resort beyond the course. For further information, check out the CAA website. If you choose not to sit the CAA Operations Level 1, we encourage you to stay around in Fernie to make the most of your season pass and enjoy the mountain.


Please note that the CAA Operations qualification is delivered directly by the CAA. Note that it may not be held at Fernie during your stay and it must be booked directly through the CAA - it books several months in advance so be sure to plan ahead. Speak with us for any questions and we can help.


Weekends & Activities

There are limitied opportunities to volunteer with the Ski Patrol team and help with their responsibilities so you can get an insight to life as a patroller. You'll also want to take advantage of your free time & get as much freeskiing in as possible  - as it's important to note that skiing time is limited on training days.


It's an awesome experience to live in the mountains and your time on the course is only a part of it. With our local knowledge and experience we have pulled together a program of activities ranging from traditional Canadian sports to road trips to other resorts to test out your skiing on new terrain. Build and sleep in your own snow cave or go cat-skiing, where you will ski fresh powder all day long. You can pick from a wide variety on offer - but please note that more options are available in the latter course.


Our local course host will also organise loads of social activities, such as trips to watch the local ice-hockey team, trying out street hockey, quiz nights, night skiing and even curling.

Heli Skiing
Cat Skiing
Avalanche Training
Ice Hockey
Backcountry Touring
Winter Camping

Stay in our purposely renovate ski lodge in the heart of Fernie, which features en-suite rooms and queen-sized beds plus awesome facilities like a movie theatre, hot tub and sauna, as well as a bar and restaurant. We also rent local houses in downtown Fernie exclusively for participants on our patrol course to serve up a true seasonaire experience.

Course Milestones It will be an action-packed 9 weeks... here's how it'll go down!
Week 1
Meet your course mates and settle into Fernie life. The initial focus will be on personal ski improvement and familiarisation of Fernie’s terrain and the Ski Patrol department.
Week 2-3
We buckle down for the Emergency First Aid course - the most critical and universal outdoor leadership skill. We’ll be in the classroom and outdoors in a practical learning setting.
Week 4-7
The learning continues: Toboggan handling, avalanche skills, risk management, snowmobile training, knots, pulley systems, cliffs and crevasses.
Week 8
Ski lifts can break... take turns being the subject and leading the evacuation of a chairlift. Plus, get an overview of all the ski resort departments you'll need to work alongside.
Weeks 9-10
You have the option to participate in the CAA Ops level 1 course or simply enjoy skiing in Fernie
Dates & Prices

What's Included

Professional Ski Patrol Training +

You'll receive training every week from leading ski patrollers at Fernie Alpine Resort. The number of hours per week varies depending on what the focus is. The maximum group size is 6 students per instructor.

Please note the course schedule varies depending on which dates you select and is dependant on the availability of specialist instructors

Shadowing the Fernie Ski Patrol +

Each student has one opportunity to shadow the Fernie Ski Patrol, gaining hands-on experience and enhancing your resumé.

AST Level 1 +

Avalanche Safety Training 1 is the first recreational training course offered by the CAA and covers topics such as avalanche formation, snow stability tests, safe travel in the backcountry, and search and rescue techniques. It is a pre-requisite for the CAA Operations 1 course.

NUEC First Aid Exam Fee +

Non Urban Emergency Care content is designed specifically for dealing with ski and outdoor adventure sport injuries and illnesses. It will not only be accepted for patrol work but also any other outdoor guiding jobs. Skills gained include advanced first aid, CPR and AED defibrillator training.

Accommodation +

We have rented a house in downtown Fernie specifically for participants on the patrol courses. You'll be living like  local - except our team are on hand whenever you need us!

Hot Tub +
Feee access to this facility at the Red Tree Lodge
Sauna +
Feee access to this facility at the Red Tree Lodge
Games Room +
Feee access to this facility at the Red Tree Lodge
Bar & Restaurant +
Join your coursemates & Nonstop clients on different courses at the bar at our hotel.
Breakfasts - Five Days Per Week +

You'll be treated to an awesome breakfast at the Red Tree Lodge five days per week. Options include a coffee/tea, juices, cereals, toast, pastries, yogurt, fruit, porridge oats, as well as hot items like eggs, beans, sausages, hash browns or bacon. Please note, for the first two weeks of the course starting on November 21st a basic breakfast will be provided at your house.

Dinners - Four Nights Per Week +

Enjoy a nutritionally balanced & filling evening meal at the Red Tree Lodge four evenings a week.

The only exception is during the optional CAA Level 1 Ops course when there will be no inclusive meals; the CAA course schedule is flexible, can be influenced by weather, and can not be pre-determined by meal reservations.

Season Lift Pass +

You'll be given a season lift pass so you can ski as much as you please. Come out early or stay on after, your lift pass will cover you.

Airport Transfers +

If you arrive with the group flight (or land before), you can join the Nonstop transfer to the resort.

Resort Shuttle +

Daily shuttle to and from the slopes.

24 Hour Hosting +

Your host will ensure your course runs smoothly. They'll be on hand 24/7 for a chat, laugh, or to solve any problems.

Weekly Technical Sessions +

Each week you'll receive a technical talk on subjects such as ski maintenance, injury prevention and working as a patroller.

Patrol Career Advice +

You'll be given an 'Patrol Starter Kit' booklet with a directory of ski patrol contacts, receive a seminar on 'Working as an Patroller', and be given constant advice from our trainers.

Weekly Socials +

Each week your host will organise team socials and après for all the group to get involved in.

The More Program +

The More Program gives you the opportunity to get involved with dozens of winter activities and experiences during your time with us, from cat skiing to ice hockey, from weekend road trips to photography courses to winter camping. What's available varies depending on the dates you choose  - get in touch to find out what you can do and an indication of prices.

Optional Pre and Post Stay +

Come out before the course begins or stay on at the end. You'll have a season lift pass so it's just a case of booking extra accommodation.

Optional Level 1 CAA Operations Course +

The CAA Level 1 Operations course is a professional level certification required by any avalanche observation or control operation. Minimum age - 19 years old. This course is booked by our participants directly with the CAA. Spaces on the course are limited and Nonstop is not able to reserve any places in advance. It is not a requirement to working on most ski patrol teams as the majority of ski resorts do not have significant avalanche patrol programs. It is a course you could choose to take in a subsequent winter season when you've confirmed it's something you want to invest in.

1% For The Planet +

1% of revenues support environmental non-profits, including Protect Our Winters

Carbon Offset +
We make your trip carbon neutral by offsetting emissions we can't reduce, including flights.
On behalf of all participants, we offset the measurable carbon emissions of your trip based on the duration, location and type of course, as well as the journey you’re taking to reach your course. Through our partnership with Climate Impact, we contribute to effective carbon reduction projects.
Not Included +

These things are not included in the package:

Flights +
We can give you advice on the best flights to get.
Travel Insurance +
We can point you to insurance policies that previous clients have rated. Some offer discounts to Nonstop participants.
Ski Equipment +
You will need alpine ski boots with a walk mode, any all mountain ski with skins & a heavier 'slack country' type binding. It's best to buy your equipment when in resort, if you don't already have it. Our coaches will give you advice on the best skis to get, and you can get a Nonstop discount at some local shops.
Avalanche & Self Rescue Equipment +
You will need to own your own shovel, avalanche transceiver, avalanche probe, pocket knife, flashlight, 40l Day pack, Locking Caribener, 3m 1 inch tubular webbing. All can be purchased in Fernie.
Lunches & Weekend Meals +
Make your own or try out some of the local restaurants or resort options.
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